round baked cake on plate
Health & Lifestyle

Is dark chocolate as healthy as they say?

How would you feel if I tell you that you can have something supremely delicious which is beneficial to your health too? Feels like a dream no. Well it is the reality but what’s more real is that dark chocolate is healthy only when eaten as a treat and not a meal. Sure there are end number of health benefits it offers but do these benefits outweigh its side effects? Is it safe to consume as much dark chocolate as we can and still keep ourselves healthy? Let’s see if dark chocolate is as healthy as they say it is.

World has two kinds of people, one who love dark chocolate and ones who hate it. Where do you fall?

So my aunt uses this dark chocolate to bake moist and delicious cakes. And if you would eat cake that once, you’ll know what a cake actually tastes like! Yes, it’s that tasty.

Disclaimer: There are a few affiliate links in this post and if you buy from those, I may get a tiny commission that’ll really help support my blog. Also I don’t recommend just any products, I personally try and test them and give my honest opinion.

Nutritional Value

dark chocolate nutrition
Dark chocolate nutrition

Let’s see what nutrition does dark chocolate provides to us. 100 g of dark chocolate with more than 70-80% cocoa has following nutrition:

  • 604 calories
  • 7.87 g of protein
  • 43.06 g of fat
  • 46.36 g of carbohydrates
  • 11.00 g of dietary fiber
  • 24.23 g of sugar
  • 12.02 milligrams (mg) of iron
  • 230.00 mg of magnesium
  • 3.34 mg of zinc

Related: Why peanut butter snacks are not as healthy as they say?

Health benefits

1. Dark chocolate is good for heart

Presence of antioxidants is one of the main reasons dark chocolate is considered healthy. These antioxidants can fight free radicals. Now what are free radicals? As we discussed in our last health post, free radicals are toxic compounds produced by cellular processes which causes inflammation and chronic diseases. And since dark chocolate is keeping them on the bay, who wouldn’t want a piece of that!

Effect on blood pressure

Flavanols and polyphenols are the antioxidants present in dark chocolate or cocoa of dark chocolate. These antioxidants stimulate nitric oxide production in the body which dilates the blood vessels and hence reduces blood pressure and improves blood flow. Since it’s helping with the smooth flow of blood, heart has to put less pressure to pump blood and hence, lowering of blood pressure.

How Dark chocolate helps in lowering the blood pressure?

Effect on Cholesterol levels

Dark chocolate also has theobromine which is seen to lower the levels of Low density lipids aka bad cholesterol and increase the levels of high density lipids aka good cholesterol.

Higher the cocoa in dark chocolate, better the antioxidants you’ll get.

2. Dark chocolate skin benefits

Free radicals are known to cause oxidative damage to skin and speeds up skin ageing. SInce it produces powerful anti-oxidants,

  • It protects the skin against sun damage and its UV radiaition.
  • Also it helps keep the skin hydrated.
  • It retains the elasticity of skin and also keep wrinkles away.

3. Dark chocolate is good for diabetes

Cocoa enriched Dark chocolate may help prevent diabetes.

An Italian study done in 2005 found that regular consumption of dark chocolate increases insulin sensitivity, which means the body becomes more responsive to the insulin signal which allows glucose to go into the cell and not stay around in the blood.

On top of that, the flavonoids present in dark chocolate increase nitric oxide production, which helps reduce insulin resistance and helps your body use insulin efficiently.

Diabetics should however consume dark chocolate with low sugar levels.

4. Dark chocolate benefits for weight loss

Contrary to the amount of calories it has, dark chocolate also helps in weight loss. It helps to control appetite and reduce cravings because it balances out blood sugar due to its rich-flavanols.

But you have to make sure that the dark chocolate you’re consuming has atleast 70% of cocoa and the least amount of sugar.

5. Dark chocolate is good for brain

Dark chocolate enhances cognitive function.  According to a study done at the University of Nottingham, consuming dark chocolate can boost blood flow to the brain for up to three hours. This, in turn, improves short-term memory and general alertness level for short periods.

The cocoa present in dark chocolate shows a positive impact on other cognitive abilities, such as concentration, response time, and memory recall.

Related: Why peanut butter snacks are not as healthy as you think?

Why dark chocolate might not be a ‘healthy food’?

I know after enlisting a number of benefits of the delicious treat, it’s not really fair to start bashing it. But you’ve gotta read this because I don’t want you to be misled by the candy companies which conveniently skip its risks and considerations.

1.The flavanols present in dark chocolate are in varying amounts depending upon the product you’re having. You might think you’re having cocoa enriched chocolate whereas it might be filled with sugars and calories.

2. Amount of chocolate you would want to have to get the appropriate amount of flavonols would be quite large which will hence increase your intake of calories.

3. It is a calorie dense food so if consumed in large quantities and regularly, it’ll end up resulting in weight gain.

4. The caffeine and other stimulants found in cocoa can trigger side effects such as increased urination, nervousness, sleeplessness, and a rapid heartbeat as a result of excessive consumption.

5. Excessive consumption of cocoa during pregnancy is ill-advised because of its caffeine content which can penetrate the placenta producing fetal blood concentrations similar to the mother’s levels. The stipulated daily intake of caffeine for pregnant women is not supposed to exceed 200 mg.

Also Read: Which fruit boosts immunity and can be added to almost every food?

How much to eat?

  1. It’s best to have a little piece after a meal or even better, indulge it in a recipe. Here are some healthy dark chocolate recipes you can cook up at home and give yourself and your family a happy treat.

2. If you’re on a weight loss diet, balance the calories consumed with your meals.

3. Most importantly, have a dark chocolate with atleast 70-85% cocoa and preferably no sugars.

4. Make sure you don’t over dose yourself with caffeine because otherwise you might get caffeine overdose side effects as I mentioned above. I have been using this Continental Coffee Xtra Instant Coffee Powder from Amazon and it gives such rich coffee experience.

Conclusion

Apart from the number of health benefits dark chocolate offers, it is advised to consume in moderation. It’s rich flavor will benefit you even if you’re having a single piece of it. It’s just like that thing they say ‘Excess of everything is bad‘ and with the festive season coming up, we forget about our limits especially when it comes to food. So have a little piece of that delicious thing, but just a little!

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18 thoughts on “Is dark chocolate as healthy as they say?

  1. Just the sugar content alone demonstrates how eating the whole thing isn’t good for your health. I do like it though. I’ve also read about lead and other toxic ingredients have been found in dark chocolate, even the healthy organic brands.

    Thanks for following my blog, I appreciate it!

    1. Wow, I didn’t know that some of these companies put lead in it! And yes, next time I’ll buy a dark chocolate, I’m going to make sure I check the ingredients first.
      Thanks for sharing this useful information with us!

      1. It’s not that they ADD toxic ingredients, in fact, it might not be lead, might be cadmium sorry….it happens in the processing of the cacoa beans or something like that. Ok…just looked it up…..cadmium and lead, depending upon where it is harvested. So it must come in the soil.

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